We are a London-based cricket club. Although we don't have our own pitch, we usually play our home fixtures in Greenwich Park. This blog records our regular triumphs and occasional failures.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Cincers finish just behind the eight ball as slow-coach Skipper scuppers the run chase

Cometh the hour, cometh the block....just when we didn't need it.
With Cincers requiring just two good overs to level the score on our Italian tour, a cruel stroke of fate meant the Skipper (yours truly) was on strike.
All that was asked for was a streaky single to get up the other end and give the strike to big-hitter Sajj.
Just one scampered run, one mad dash while the fielders panicked - that's all.
Tragically, that was all, more or less.
There were swings (and misses). There were shots, sort of (straight to fielders).
But what there wasn't was a run.
So becalmed was the Captain that crafty Silvio, the pipe-smoking (when umpiring) Idle keeper pointedly refused to stump him. The swine!
Below: Crisis? What Crisis?! Cincers' Brigadier Block at the crease!
Even worse, this wasn't just any old over.
This was an eight-ball over, in line with special playing conditions apparently designed to save time because of the unseasonably wet June weather in Lombardy
Mercilessly, the bowler, Idle skipper Steve, sent down delivery after delivery right on target.
The over finished. A maiden.
At the other end, Sajj sighed and contemplated how he was going to get 32 off the eight balls left.
Below: Sajj attack - the Cincers' strokesman winds up for a big hit
Gamely, Idle slow bowler Marco was brought back on to bowl them.
His first ball was despatched by Sajjfor a towering six over long-on.
The second was whipped away for two.
Then four off the third!
Just as in our first tour game, Sajj was giving us hope when we didn't really deserve it.
Four balls left, 20 to win.
A surprise victory? Surely not!
Yes, surely not.
Sajj's next shot was an expansive inside-out lofted drive designed to put the damn ball where it belonged - right in the middle of that six-foot high maize field.
Unfortunately, it ended up in the hands of something else about six foot - an Italian fielder at deep backward cover who took a fine catch.
With that, it was game over. Done with. Finished.
20 needed off four. As if.
All that remained was for the Skip, who managed to cross when the ball was in the air, to get himself tamely stumped now that Sajj was out.
The dismissal was greeted by watching Cincers with a resigned silence.
The wind had given up. Even the leaves on the trees were at half-mast.
Dejected, the Skip trudged off.
We played out the last three balls for another run and then shook hands at 81, 18 runs short of our oppo's total.
The day had begun under dark clouds and with fears of impending storms.
So we started early (about 10.45am) and reduced the day's proceedings to 15 eight-ball overs a side (to speed up things by reducing the number of end changes after overs).
Having been invited to bat on day one, we decided to give Idle first use on day two.
They started breezily enough with Sri Lankan player Keerthi giving it a right old biff.
Now, the second day of a tour is traditionally when our fielding lets us down.
You know, up late the night before, drink taken, not much sleep, etc, etc, catches go down.
For some reason, we did all that on day one.
But any hopes we'd got it out of system were rapidly dashed a we started day two in the field pretty much like day one.
It took a couple of heroics from Simon M to wake us up.
Looking decidedly green in the gills at start of play, Simon launched himself to take two catches.
One effort off a Tim R seamer was particularly spectacular as the ball had seemingly already passed Simon by at mid-off before he plucked it out of the air.
Tim turned in an impressive 2 for just 13 off three (maximum three overs a bowler).
Earlier, Richard H, opening up 20/20 spinner-style at one end, bowled a fine spell of two for 20 off three while Chris P also bowled tightly.
Westie, struggling with a virus, stepped up to the plate with a wicket courtesy of a sharp stumping by James W who kept superbly in his first major outing with the gloves.
Sajj chipped in with a wicket, nipping out the dangerous South African Shaun when he was about to cut loose.
But the Italians still posted a challenging 99 off their 15.
Westie was promoted up the order to open with Tim but the big man had a rush of blood and charged slow bowler Marco the first ball he faced...and was caught behind.
Keeper Silvio stumped him as well. Just to be sure.
Tim looked solid before eventually departing for 14.
Following on from his fielding acrobatics, Simon M then briefly lit up the late morning with some fine hitting which promised a fine knock.
Below: Take that! Simon hits a straight drive for four
But he went to a fine catch at gully when he was on 20.
Sajj's brave 31 apart, that was pretty much that.
But this was a great tour, marked by wonderful hospitality and welcome on the part of our hosts Idle CC and a great setting in which to play.
So, grazie mille to Idle skipper Steve, Carlo for much of the hospitality/organising and Joe for contacting us in the first place to arrange the fixture.
And thanks to all the Cincers who came on tour: Tim R, Dee, Sajj, Westie, Simon M, Frank, Stephen H, Richard H, Chris P and James W.
This game played on Sunday, June 29, in Lodi, Italy.
Cincers Man of the Match: Simon M.
Cincers Man of the Tour: Sajj.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Il buono, il brutto e il brillo* - sloppy Cincers gunned down in spaghetti cricket shoot-out

It was the beer.
It's always the beer, isn't it?
Beware Italians bearing bottles of beer and charmingly tempting us at teatime - that surely should have been our motto.
We learnt this lesson the hard way in Croatia last year...except we didn't.
And so day one of our tour to Lombardy took a familiar turn for a seasoned Cincers' tourist.
Chances galore went begging as ever so slightly tipsy fielders spilled what they would normally snaffle with ease.
The biggest surprise?
It was a toss-up between Bostik-fingered Sajj dropping one (or was it two?) and Richard H downing one of his own bowling. Yes, off his own bowling!
On a beautiful pitch in Lodi, not far from Milan, Cincers were defending a meagre total of just 127.
As well as plying us with an array of refreshments, our generous hosts - Idle CC - had bowled superbly in a time-game to keep us reined in.
Mr Chairman (Tim) and Dee had started well on a pitch with as just about as much bounce as The Oval nets.
(Left: Cincers' prepare for battle in Lombardy)
Under a hot sun, Dee treated us to a few of his trademark rasping legside boundaries (including one into the maize field) off Idle opener Rob.
At the other end, Idle skipper Steve bowled over after over of metronomically accurate seamers with the added menace of moving it both ways.
Dee was looking good until he was bowled for 20 by the rapid first-change bowler Sunny.
But Test Match (to give Tim his 'nom de bat') was anchored and settling in.
With Sajj striding to the crease, it was surely only a matter of time before the maize field got it again.
Sadly, after he smote two fours (can't remember if they went crop-bound), it was Sajj that got it - caught off Sunny (from memory, a catch behind to Idle keeper Silvio).
Sixty for two quickly became 78 for six.
(Below: Westie and Tim in mid-wicket "conference")
Cincers' middle-order went off and out like a damp firework, with Westie, James W, Stephen H all falling for single-figure scores.
Worse, Tim went too for what turned out to be our top-score - 32.
He was dismissed by Shaun, the sharp-bowling Saffer who also accounted for Stephen.
Simon M briefly flickered into life, stroking a superb six and threatening to form a decisive partnership with the Skip (and you can't say that very often).
Unwisely, though, Simon decided to try a glance to first slip off Idle spinner Umair...and was caught at first slip.
That left us at 100 for seven.
The Skip's stubborn resistance (my god, that cost us the day after!) continued though not with much result.
Frank came and went, and finally so did the Skip (for 17). Give him a medal.
After one brief swing from Chris, Cincers were all out.
And this, mind, was before the beers and the splendid tea!
What followed was a combination of the odd bit of bad luck, stout batting from Idle and a succession of comedy drops in the outfield.
After spill number five or six, some of us just couldn't look any more. It was too painful.
Idle opener Rob (as in bowling...he normally bats 11 but was promoted to number two) particularly enjoyed Cincers' generosity, punishing us with a succession of boundaries.
By the time he finally went for 31 (score 80 for two), even some local cats were getting envious of his let-offs.
For the record, Rob was stumped by Dee off Richard - a relief all round as the offie had earlier shelled a not overly-tricky caught-and-bowled (it might not have been 'earlier' but it sounds better that way for dramatic effect).
Chris, opening up for Cincers, had bowled a fine spell and snaffled the early wicket of Idle stalwart Carlo (whose brother's farm we were playing on).
But Carlo's departure meant Vittorio's arrival.
And by the time we said 'arriverderci' to him, the stroke-playing Italian had scored 52 and sent his team well on the path to victory.
The only reason we got Vittorio at all was down to Sajj, brought on as a last-throw of the dice by the Skip (probably an over too late).
One sharp-turning leggie had the Italian well stumped by Dee Sajj's dad).
The father-son combination seemed to energise Cincers in the field.
We suddenly started taking catches.
From 100 for 3, Idle slumped to 122 for 6 - all down to Sajj whose spell of five for 18 off five gave us belief.
For a few minutes, that is.
A couple of hefty swings from the Italian lower order and they were over the line.
To rub salt into the wounds, they even plied us with more drink after they'd won!
Churlish, though, to blame the beers (as I've just spent the last 300 words doing).
Idle out-bowled, out-fielded and out-batted us.
Thanks to our Italian hosts for a great game, played in a superb setting and in a beautiful setting.
Bravo, Idle!
Cincers Man of the Match: Sajj.
This game played on Saturday, June 28, in Lodi, Italy.
* Our headline reads 'The good, the ugly and the tipsy' with acknowledgements to a certain spaghetti western: 'Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (the good, the ugly, the bad). Kept 'brutto' as it reads better!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Centurion Shehbaz too hot to handle for Old Fallopians as Cincers (finally) pile on the runs

On a peach of a summer's day came a peach of an innings.
A superb 134 not out from Shehbaz proved just too much for Old Fallopians last Sunday.
The number three helped Cincers to a formidable total of 246 for 7 off 40 overs.
In reply, Old F's - who thumped us last year - crashed to 95 all out off just over 27 overs.
The game, at Greenwich Park, began in highly unusual circumstances.
The Skipper (that's me) won the toss and put us in to bat.
A brave move (courageous? characterful? far-sighted?), given that we only had nine men after two late pull-outs.
But behind the scenes, there'd been lobbying from some Cincers for a chance to bat first, to show that, despite regular batting collapses, we could post a total.
Not that it started that well.
Tim got a brute of a ball and departed early.
That brought Shehbaz out to join Saqib.
The opposition attack was good but we were still going a fair lick.
Then Saqib chanced his arm just once too often and went for 28. The score was 54 for two.
Shehbaz and Ali then put on 59 until Ali was given LB (by umpire Saqib. They spent much of the rest of the afternoon in a free and frank exchange of views on that decision).
We had a new recruit on Sunday, a very pleasant Lancastrian (is there any other sort?) by the name of Phil whose only character flaw seems to be that he once supported Leeds.
Phil, that's on the other side of the Pennines, don't you know?
He didn't score that many but he helped Shehbaz put on an invaluable 44.
When Phil finally departed, Tsawar, Faisal's brother, whacked a breezy 16 in a 42-run partnership with Shehbaz.
There were hiccups.
James W, making a pre-tour appearance, was determined to show he could hit the ball.
And he did. Straight to mid-wicket.
Meanwhile, so determined was the Skip to stop Old F's returning opening bowler from skittling him that he decided to kick the stumps himself. Hit wicket for 1.
It took a Yorkshireman (gritted teeth) to restore sanity, with Craig keeping company with Shehbaz while the latter ran amok, basically.
The star batter added about 20 off the last couple of overs, closing on 134 not out.
Even so, as already said, Old F's battered us last year with some fine hitting.
So as we tucked into Richard H's tasty vegetarian curry, there was no guarantee we'd got enough on the board.
We needn't have worried.
Ali produced a snorter of an opening spell, snaffling four wickets (including two in two) for just six runs off six overs.
Saqib and Craig (two wickets a piece for not many runs) kept the pressure up superbly while the Skipper chipped in with two at the end.
Behind the stumps, Shehbaz - that man again - kept superbly, taking two stumpings and a fine catch.
All in all, a fine day and a fine win.
Thanks to Old F's for the game and see you next year.
Cincers Man of the Man: Only one contender - Shehbaz.
Game played at Greenwich Park on Sunday, June 22.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

It's the Simon and Richard wicket-taking show as Cincers humble Holtwhites up north London

Another week, another game called off by our scheduled opponents.
So it was off to new side Holtwhites Trinibis up in Enfield that we went.
Smart-looking ground, fine pavilion and a Sunday team which, we heard as we trembled, hadn't lost yet this year.
But that was before Simon M got to work on them, backed up ably by Richard H.
Both Cincers' bowlers took four-for's ('and two catches dropped, Skip,' said Richard).
On a sloping pitch, Holtwhites had no answer to Simon's wicket-to-wicket balls, with all four of his victims clean-bowled.
It was a lively affair to begin when a full-length ball from Faisal struck a painful blow on the batsman's foot.
The umpire, his dad, wasn't best pleased.
Cue some heated exchanges.
The best answer was exactly what Cincers came up with - a succession of quick wickets which meant the oppo never got going.
Only two men made it into double figures and the opposition finished on just 79 all out off only 25 overs.
Forty over game this, so a piece of cake for Cincers?
Not with our recent batting form, it wasn't.
And, inevitably, Holtwhites had some pretty decent bowling to open up with.
Mr Chairman (Tim) went cheaply, caught in an impressively large slip cordon, and Saqib was snared after flashing at one outside off.
When Dee missed one of his trademark hits to leg, we were rocking at 15 for 3.
That become 35 for 4 when Dan P went.
Much biting of nails and off-field rows, mainly between Dee and the Skip (me).
We're transferring to the West End next year.
Abid and Ali were at the crease as we all looked on.
It was anxious. It was nervous.
In the end, Ali sliced through the tension with a succession of fine fours and a couple of giant sixes - one of which to win the match and bring up his 50 at the same time - was an extraordinary bottom-hand, straight jab a la Freddie Flintoff.
Abid, though, was also a rock (insert fielding-related jokes here, please), pinching the odd signal and also striking a few boundaries.
Is there space to mention Abid's running catch off Richard? Only if we also record two comic bits of misfielding off the same bowler.
But Abid finished on 14 not out and Ali on an undefeated 51.
Thanks to Holtwhites Trinibis for a great day and fine hospitality.
Cincers Man of the Match: Tricky one, this, given Ali's knock but Simon set the game up. So S. Murphy.
Game played at Holtwhites Trinibis, Enfield, on Sunday, June 8.

Resignation rumour sweeps Blackheath, and Hampstead Heath… or wherever

By the Chairman

“It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain.”

With these dramatic words, Geoffrey Howe, the former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary, one of Britain’s most distinguished politicians, described how his best efforts had been undermined by Margaret Thatcher, the captain of his government team, in his famous resignation speech.

A short time later, Thatcher herself was forced from office, having lost the support of her star players.

Lord Howe’s vivid analogy also neatly captures the hopelessness and despair facing Cincinnati in the absence of our own Captain, as we found ourselves, on June 1, up against the might of Real Maredrid.

In fact, with minimal adaptation, Lord Howe’s words put our desperate plight that day perfectly:

“It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find that the captain had sent them to entirely the wrong cricket ground to play a team going by a completely different name, and then pootled off to France.”

So on a hot afternoon, in the shade of a municipal dog waste bin, the assembled six Cincinnatians, and one unfortunate young son, scratched our heads and waited for the opposition to arrive at their own home ground. Only it wasn’t.

Eventually, we discovered that we should have been playing at Parliament Hill, despite Brendan’s instructions to turn up at Hampstead Heath Extension.

Perhaps he thought we would need to come in off a long run. Perhaps there was a darker motive at work...

When the game finally started, and the opposition’s charming and competent captain, Mr Hugh Jones, politely informed us that their team was in fact the Gospel Blokes, not Real Maredrid, the chairman’s brain was scrambled and ludicrously he decided to bat first.

Opening the innings with Ben Jackson, the Chairman did his very best to get Cincinnati off to the very worst of possible starts, skying a full toss high over his own head, just beyond the reach of the wicket keeper and neatly into the hands of Mr Jones, who politely and charmingly dropped it onto the grass.

Some months later, with Cincinnati’s two openers still at the crease, the score reached 50, and drinks – some of which may have contained lethal barbiturates – were ordered, and taken.

Whereupon complete chaos unfolded. Even without Brendan to direct our performance, we managed to put on a peerless display of farcical batting, losing eight wickets for about 20 runs in the space of half an hour.

By the time Faisal, one of our talented all-rounders, arrived at the crease, 50-0 had become 70-8. Humiliation, our default setting, beckoned.

But nobody had told Faisal how things are supposed to end. Instead, he played a brilliant innings and rescued our prospects, finishing on 36 not out, having guided Cincinnati to 130 off our allotted 30 overs.

After a break for tea and a spot of dancing to the popular music combination entertaining the crowds from the bandstand, we set about defending our slender, but no longer entirely hopeless, total.

Ali and Faisal then ripped out the top order of the Blokes’ batting line up with quick and accurate spells, leaving them in the kind of disarray which had engulfed our own innings an hour earlier.

Ali finished with 3-14 and Faisal 2-12. Just when they thought they had survived the worst, Chris came on and took 2-2 off three overs of testing left-arm seam. Simon, Richard and Lucky Dan all chipped in with wickets too.

The Gospel Blokes were duly dismissed for 35, giving Cincinnati victory by the improbable margin of 95 runs.

Praise is due to Saqib for some fine wicket-keeping for only the second time in his career.

With plenty of daylight left, our hosts then suggested a 10 overs per side beer match.

The Blokes notched up 66-4 and Cincinnati fell six runs short in what was ultimately a far more exciting contest, in which the Chairman hit three sixes on his way to 28 off 13 balls before running himself out (or ambling himself out) returning lazily for a two, in the last over, effectively ending our chances of victory.
Despite the challenges posed by our leader’s absence at some kind of European summit, we fought on, and we fought to win… leaving only one thing left for Brendan to do on his return.Consult history, captain. And then consult your cabinet.

Game played at Parliament Hill on Sunday, June 1.

The Skipper writes: 'Ooh er.'

Dozy Cincers set up victory against old enemy BK...and then chuck it all down the drain!

If there's one thing any Cincinnatian knows, it's this: don't give BK an even break.
Nice guys, salt of the earth. Buy you a pint in the pub afterwards.
But not, repeat not, the team to give a sniff to, to ease up on.
Sadly, that's exactly what Cincers did at Greenwich Park last month.
Set just 150 to win off 40, we managed one of the most inept chases in our glorious history.
Batsman after batsman had a look, got in and then devised a cunning way to get out.
Actually, that's not all true.
Later on, when we'd slumped from an OK 81 for 4 to 125 for 6, there were some especially dumb shots when we still needed barely two an over.
The day began well enough.
Even though BK have replenished their ranks this season (with one or two spicy characters as Richard could attest when umpiring!), we contained them to just 149 off 40.
Conceding just four runs off his five overs (for one wicket), Chris P was Scrooge personified.
But Faisal (3 for 11 off 7) and Ali (2 for 21 off 5) were also on the money.
Even the Skipper chipped in with two wickets though at his traditionally more generous rate of six an over.
Tom was superb behind the stumps, saving virtually everything and taking a sharp catch.
What a pity our own innings was such a let-down.
Despite a promising start from Dee and Saqib who together put on 44 before Saqib went, we then slowly let it slip.
With five down and less than 100 on the board, Tom - who was batting well - was joined by the Skipper (yours truly).
If ever a situation was to tailor-made for Cincers' very own Brigadier Block, this was it.
No, it wasn't.
A mix-up led to said Skipper being run out.
Cue fulsome apologies from Tom.
Even then, the game was there to be won. Still loads of time, still wickets in hand.
But no.
A succession of daft shots meant we chucked it all away.
We finished at 135 all out off 39.
But thanks to BK for a great game, played in the usual old competitive spirit.
Cincers Man of the Match: Tom Lowe.
(Game played on Sunday, May 25)

That deadly combination - youth, talent and a hot sun - cuts Cincinnati down to size

By The Chairman:

It must be one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
In the Great Morden Desert Valley, where rain falls once every 27 years and the temperatures can reach 140F, few living things can survive.
A Cincinnati bowling attack made up of hungover newspaper hacks, under-paid ringers, and Abid was hardly alive to begin with.
By the time the young prodigies of Old Rutlishians had finished with us, all that was left was a wind-blown skeleton, bones bleached in the sun, slowly being covered over with sand.
In truth, the match was probably lost before a ball was bowled.
The first blow came in the form of an immaculate little box hedge bordering the handsome pavilion at ankle height.
The small shrub featurette, more than anything, told those Cincinnatians who arrived on time (i.e. before the match started) that we had our work cut out against a serious club that takes everything - even the gardening - seriously.
As it happened, Old Ruts started cautiously and lost early wickets, Faisal and Simon Murphy breaking through the top order.
Once again, Mr Murphy showed that by bowling at the stumps and tempting the batsmen to do something different, they eventually will.
Either that or his haunted hat spooked the opposition into running for the sheds. Faisal was, as usual, sharp and accurate, with a hostile opening spell.
But the early progress was soon replaced with bowlers showing all the menace of a summer pudding at the end of a boozy picnic.
Names have been omitted to protect the identities of the victims.
Two Old Ruts (both actually on the young side), played superbly to amass large fifties each. Woollard, tragically, was out caught on 97, while the Old Ruts opening bat, Potel(SP?) fell for 79, slicing a catch to deep backward point as their innings drew to a close.
But not before they sent six after six into the houses and well-kept gardens beyond the midwicket boundary, and - once, for variety - crashing onto Alex West's sister's car.
In reply to Old Ruts' 257, Cincinnati fluffed our way to 188. All apart from Ali, who batted with dogged concentration and an explosive and brilliant eye for a loose ball, to reach 69.
Mr West made 30, or 28, or second base, or something (the book is almost completely illegible).
The Captain spent many hours at the crease on a lonely vigil, and notched up a handy 23 runs (*Duckworth-Carlin Method total adjusted to take account of boredom and other ill health affecting scorers).
Faced with a perfect summer's day, a club fit for any cricketer's dreams, and the flattest of tracks, Cincinnati were a shambles.
Old Rutlishians, themselves, however, were a delight of a club, who gave us a most hospitable reception, the use of a beautiful pitch - and, thankfully, a well-stocked bar. We weren't so bad at that bit.

Old Rutlishians 257.
Faisal Abbas 3-21 off 7 overs, S Murphy 1-13 off four.
CCC 188
Ali 69
Alex some runs or other
Brendan 23.
(Game played on Sunday, May 18, at Old Rutlishians, Morden. Replaced scheduled fixture v Old Wimbledonians who pulled out)

Cincinnati all at sea against Pacific until Magic Murphy dives in and paddles to the rescue

Cincers began the new season as they meant to go on...with a spectacular collapse.
At one stage on the opening day of the 2014 campaign, we were a dismal 39 for 5, then 58 for 7.
All over then? And against new opponents Pacific who'd had to borrow extra players from us just to save the fixture.
But when that seventh wicket fell, in came - at an unusually low number nine - the hero of the hour.
Simon Murphy strode to the Greenwich Park crease to join Faisal who was the only Cincers' batsman with any sort of score at that point.
It got worse before it got better.
Faisal's wicket fell with just another seven added.
But thereafter, Mr Murphy put Pacific to the sword.
Ably partnered - first by new recruit Andy Crawford, then by last man Craig - he dealt in boundaries as Cincers' score went from critical to almost healthy at 169 all out off 31.5 overs.
After Simon's blistering 70, only Faisal (31) and Ali (16) troubled the scorers.
But was it enough?
It was. In reply, Pacific put Cincers's calypso collapso in the shade.
At one stage, they were 25 for 5 after a disastrous run-out coupled with sharp bowling from Faisal and that man Murphy.
They recovered to a semi-respectable 107 all out off 30.1 overs - finished by one ball from Dee which was whacked straight to a fielder (who exactly, I've forgotten).
Faisal finished with four for, Simon bagged two as did Craig.
One played, one won!
Thanks to Pacific for honouring the fixture.
Cincers Man of the Match: S. Murphy.
(Game played at Greenwich Park on Sunday, May 11)

Cincers' big guns fail to fire as as the mighty Finchley make sure they take their revenge

A dramatic last-minute triumph over Finchley in 2012 was always going to have its consequences.
They duly came at the corresponding end-of-season fixture last year.
Something about the strong Finchley line-up (and Frank's 'defection' from us back to them) seemed to tell us they weren't going to let lightning strike twice.
We opened up with 'Selfish' Simon Bevan, in a rare outing these days, and strokesman George Arbuthnott.
And for a while, we did well, going along at a steady if not exactly express pace.
Sadly for us, the tight bowling kept Simon and George in check.
But the stately progress was interrupted when Simon went for 39, followed soon after by George for 44.
After that?
Well, not much. Tom got 20 (not out, it says here) and Ali scored 19.
We ended up with 146 for 4 off 33 (why 33? Can't remember).
From memory, Finchley got them quite easily.
Actually, not just memory - the scorebook says 150 for 4 off 22.
Faisal got a wicket. First ball of their innings as I recall.
One wicket went Simon M's way and one to the Captain's (Dee's son Sajj - stumped as usual though not by his dad who had deserted us for hols in the States).
And so endeth the 2013 season.
Cincers Man of the Match: G. Arbuthnott (but none of us really).
(Game played on September 8, 2013).

A game too far as late night and scorching sun, oh and the opposition, prove too good for Cincers!

One of the virtues of writing this match report virtually 10 months after the game is that the pain of it has (almost) gone.
Cincers' second game on Vis went the way of many of our tour second games - we got gently hammered the night before and really hammered on the day itself.
Let's step over the fact that our opposition, Cambridge side St Radegund - were also spotted enjoying themselves the night before on the waterfront...
Worse, Tim R and Dee got us off to a blistering start, with Dee notching a maiden 50 with some geometrically improbable shots and the Chairman also passing the half-century mark but with more orthodox (cricket)shots.
But after an opening century partnership, we duly chucked it away with some tired middle-order batting and suicidal shot selection.
A total of 201 (extras third top score after Tim and Dee) off 30 wasn't bad but on the relatively small Vis pitch, we need to bowl and field well.
The scorebook shows St Radegund got them with only four balls to spare but it didn't feel that close on the day.
Some of us (names and numbers noted) looked a little tired on our feet.
Chances went down and boundaries were unprotected.
St Radegund also had decent batsmen, with two passing 50 and two others notching over 25 or over.
Not even a late run-out by Richard or some game bowling by Tim (two for 41 off six) and Richard again(one for 30 off five) could save us.
Oh well.
It was a lovely day and so long ago, I've forgotten all about it.
* Cincers man of the match: Dee
** Belated thanks to St Radegund for a fine game and to Roki for his hospitality.
(Game played September 1, 2013).

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Six-hitting Sajj wins battle of the big hitters as duel in the sun goes Cincers' way

Vis, Croatia:
They say it doesn't rain here much in the summer.
Well, yesterday it did - except substitute rain drops for cricket balls.
Cincinnati kicked off the 2013 Tour yesterday with a deluge of sixes from big-hitters Sajj and Jilesh.
Hosts Sir William Hoste CC, the Vis club, also merrily cleared the boundaries.
But after a day under the boiling hot Croatian sun, it was the Cincers' big guns who prevailed.
Winning the toss (for once), the Skip opted to bat with the Chairman and Dee opening up.
Dee got the ball rolling.
First ball of the second over, he smashed a full toss over the mid-wicket (where else?) for six.
Sadly, that was the highlight of the Dee day.
Trying to repeat the maximum, he played across a low full toss and was bowled.
He wandered off fuming that the Skip, umpiring, had not given a no ball (that'll teach him to trigger the Captain lbw a couple of games back).
Enter left-hander Jilesh to join Tim R.
The partnership prospered despite some fine bowling from Vis opener Lenko.
The Chairman hit a couple of boundaries while Jilesh went for just about every single going (and some that weren't).
it was going swimmingly until Tim, on 20, hammered a ball to midwicket.....and stood in astonishment as the fielder (a Scotsman on his honeymoon) took an extraordinary catch.
The ball struck him full on the leg before somehow ending up in his hands.
The Vis fielders could not believe their luck.
But their celebrations were not to last. What followed was a deluge of boundaries.
Sajj, Dee's son and our potent number four, started with a single.
Thereafter, he traded mostly in boundaries - six fours and six sixes.
At the other end, Jilesh also put the hosts to the sword.
Vis looked dazed as the blitz took Cincers racing past 100 and making it look certain we would double it by the end of our allotted 30 overs.
On 69, Sajj eventually fell - caught on the long-on boundary.
Oh, off a girl bowler as it happened!
Thereafter, the Cincers slowed but the damage had been done.
Jilesh sportingly retired two short of his 50 to give others a go.
There were cameos from Stephen Hall (27 before retiring), 28 n/o from Frank and 18 from new recruit Nick R (the scorebook says 10 but he insists it was 18 and he's a barrister. Don't want this to end in court).
Oh and there was a minuet of an innings from Westie who reckons these days he should be opening the innings.
First, he walked to a bump ball catch before being called back by Vis skip Craig.
Next ball, he was given LB by Dee.
TV replays suggest it pitched outside off but hit in front.
Richard H and his Very Big Bat only faced a couple of balls but he wanted a mention for his 3.5lb railway sleeper so here it is.
We finished on a impressive 247 for 5.
After a beer-fuelled lunch at Oliver Roki's restaurant nearby, we took the field.
With all those runs in the bank, we could afford to take it easy.
But initially, it was over to birthday boy Chris (31 yesterday) to open up.
He was desperately unlucky not to snaffle a couple of wickets.
Frank, at the other end, did bag a wicket and would have had another if it wasn't for a no-ball.
With the rate climbing towards 10 an over, offspinner Richard came on to immediate effect - a wicket first ball smartly pouched by Tim at first slip.
it turned into a wicket maiden.
At the other end, Stephen H - ever the reluctant bowler - produced a rapid but wild spell that, byes apart, yielded just four runs off four overs.
Mission impossible for a batting side?
Well, time then surely for the Skip to change that by introducing his own flighted filth of non-spinning leggies and deceptively straight-oners.
Needless to say, most of them got what they deserved - fours or sixes.
In fact, so heavy was the leather raining down on his vineyard next door - especially when Vis's Craig was batting - that winegrower Oliver Roki must have been worried about this year's harvest.
'Hmm..this year, the reds have a funny, leathery, seamy bouquet..'
Eventually, the skip finally got one to turn a fraction and Sajj at fine leg took a brilliant catch before the ball crossed the boundary.
With Craig gone, any faint hopes of a Vis victory went too.
There was time for Sajj to enter the fray with his leggies and for his dad to pull off a very smart stumping - one of two; he also had one off Richard.
By the way, Richard has asked that his one over which got hammered for 19 is barely mentioned in the match report sso there's just this one little mention of it.
Vis ended up at 191 for seven - 56 short.
Many thanks to Craig, Oliver and all at the Vis club for their fine hospitality.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Cincers survive top order meltdown after Shahbaz and Rockie tame the Tigers

Bowlers coming out of our ears but a batsman or two light.
The line-up for our bout v Judd St Tigers (formerly West XI) shouted 'win the toss and bowl first'.
So the Skip duly lost it and got put in.
He and Tim R opened in a bid to set a solid base but every proper batsman's allowed a failure and Test Match duly feathered one to the keeper early on.
Tight Tigers' bowling - especially from Chris W at the Heath end - kept the runs to a trickle.
The slide got underway when the Skip, pushing one to cover at the other end, called a quick single.
New signing Shah, the non-striker, didn't move. Not an inch.
A livid captain was left stranded and unamused.
Shah spectacularly failed to make up for the shambles by getting himself bowled and when another new signing - Paul - came and went for zilch and Dan P was LB for 2, we were staring down the barrel at 30-odd for five.
Thank goodness, therefore, for Shahbaz.
Batting at six (he didn't want to bat higher because he was keeping), he and Rockie (making another welcome return) turned the tide.
In fact, they opened the floodgates.
Shahbaz began to punish the Tigers' bowling with rasping fours and three sixes.
Despite not having batted much for a couple of years, Rockie also got into the runs - ones and twos at first, then boundaries.
When Shahbaz went for 72, in came James S and proceeded to use Richard H's 'railway sleeper' (apparently, it is a cricket bat as well) to great use.
One six hurtled high into the trees behind the bowler's arm.
James finished on 27 while Rockie strode off on 44 not out.
A total of 179 off 35 was competitive if not impregnable.
What followed was Tigers' innings where they kept up with the rate but kept losing wickets as well.
Only one of their batters got over 20 with the rest getting into the teens at best.
James S struck early with a clean bowled and then - wonder of wonders - an LB decision in his favour though watching Tigers had their doubts over it.
Shahbaz kept well, taking a sharp chance off Chris P.
Just when Tigers seemed to be putting a stand together, the same bowler frightened the life out of batsman Chris D with one that reared off a shortish length.
Taking evasive action, the poor man ended up on his backside with only a dislodged bail for company.
Out - hit wicket.
Chris W for Tigers threatened but when he went on 25 to a sharp catch by Shah ( he can move quickly!) off Tim R, the game looked up.
The Skip opting not to bowl, it was left to Tim to take some tap in this game but he still ended up with a three for.
Cincers' Man of the Match: Shahbaz.
* Game played on August 25.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Joy of six for swing man Murphy as Cincers scuttle Actors for just 31 (yes, 31) runs

They're record-breaking figures in a record-breaking match.
Never before has Cincers dismissed an oppo for such a paltry score.
And never before has a Cincinnatian returned bowling figures of six for 8 off 5.2 overs.
Step forward new recruit Simon M.
Poor old Actors simply had no answer to him on a Greenwich Park pitch with more than usual variable bounce.
Yes, Simon was helped by the bounce (or lack of it).
And yes, Actors didn't help themselves by going back to him when it was already obvious the only course was to come warily forward.
But to take six wickets (four of them clean-bowled) while conceding barely as many runs was exceptional.
Abid (can't remember if he was late or not - what's the betting?) chipped in with two wickets.
And Actors trudged off with just 31 on the board off 18.2 overs.
We hard a minor drama getting the runs - we lost four wickets getting there but the result was not exactly in doubt.
Oh and we won the following 'beer match' too!
Cincers Man of the Match: Simon M.
Thanks to Richard H for doing the tea.
* Game played on June 2.

Test Match - with a little help from the Skip - steers Cincers to season's 2nd victory over Camel

Skittling Camel for just 121, surely this was a game Cincers were never going to lose.
Or was it?
At a nervous 20-odd for 3, with Dee, Saqi and Harry all back in the hutch, it suddenly didn't look that easy.
So it was time to return to a partnership from yesteryear.
Tim R - 'Test Match' - resolute at one end.
And at the other, the Skip - promoting himself (at Harry's suggestion beforehand) - to number five.
Given how feeble the Captain's scoring now is, it remain a bizarre fact of Cincers' history that the club's first-ever opening standing of 100 was....Tim R and him (Whitstable...many moons ago now).
'Don't believe it,' says everyone reading this.
Anyhow, there we were at Hampstead Heath Extension, still needing nearly 100 with all the main batsmen gone apart from opener Tim.
With gallons of overs to go, though, it was tailor-made for the Skip's range of shot (none apart from the judicious leave outside off).
Watchfully, the pair saw off Camel's main bowlng threat and gradually upped the scoring rate.
Well, Tim did.
Rocket-fuelled this partnership wasn't but it took us into the 90s when Dee triggered the Skip for being LB.
He'd scored a humungous 10.
Dee's a qualified umpire so there's no point arguing.
His place in the future batting order, however, is another matter!
Faisal came in and smashed 15 in about four balls before holing out but by then we were nearly there.
We crossed the line with over 10 overs in reserve.
Tim carried his bat to end on 65 not out - a quality innings with as at Charlton Park, barely a chance given.
Earlier, Dee went for a duck while Saqi couldn't reprise his heroics of Ham.
He was given LB for 2 while Harry, after playing one of the shots of the season (a lightning pull to leg) holed out at mid-on next ball.
Our bowling was steady.
Richard could have had three but had to settle for one.
The Skip dropped a straight-forward chance off his bowling and then rubbed salt in the wound by getting three wickets himself (two smart stumpings by Dee and a fine catch by Tim at silly mid-off).
New recruit Ali (who played for Actors the week before) was the star with 3 for 13 off 7.
Thanks to Camel for providing the hospitality and tea for the day.

Cincers put Actors to the sword as first Selfish and then Saqi cut lose (oops - mind that car!)

It was like old times.
'Selfish' Simon Bevan hogging the strike and notching yet another 50.
It was almost cruel to tell an under-strength Actors that this was probably the new father's only game of the season.
The annual trip to Ham near Richmond was preceded by pleas from Actors for players.
We obliged but unlike against BK, our generosity was tempered by realism.
The Skip made sure that of the extra players on offer, the bowling of Faisal and firepower of new recruit Saqi stayed with us.
Actors also had to field a wicket keeper for the day, courtesy of us, who was a 10-year-old lad.
That said, young Joe kept superbly, took a stunning catch and a smart stumping.
Our innings - 236 for 6 off 35 with Bevan 58 and Dee 30 opening up.
The fireworks came from Saqi who like Ali, is obviously a devotee of the IPL forward defensive - also known as a whopping great six over long off.
He hit some fearsome blows in his 78 - none more so than the one which hit a car (pretty new one) parked by the tennis courts.
Actors were well under strength and it showed.
A total of 65 all out with no-one scoring more than seven was all they could muster.
The only real highlight was the aforementioned young Joe keeping Cincers at bay for his 4 not out and batting for over after over with his dad Paddy.
Our bowling figures reflected the dominance, with Simon M notching 2 for 13 off 3 and new recuit Saurabh 1 for 7 off 3.
Oh, and there was another very welcome returnee for the day: Richard de Q who had one for 12 off 2.
Thanks as usual to Actors (especially Richard Hayles and skipper Jamie) for hosting us.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Hadlow wins it for Cincers at the death after Tom carries his bat (if not his water bottle)

A nerve-shredder, this one.
Set 170 to win, London Saints came perilously close.
Six needed off the last over and only five wickets down.
If it wasn't for Richard H holding his nerve and sending down a miserly six balls, they would have won.
Back to the start.
Tom was the main man in the batting line-up and he delivered - albeit by bringing out some strange contraption so he could drink at regular intervals without taking his helmet off.
Some idiot (the Captain,of course, while umpiring) had to hold this while Tom batted.
He and Dee started well, until Dee got a nosebleed when he was 18 and got bowled.
(That elusive 50 is actually there for the taking....if only he'd get his head down!).
After that, we struggled.
Dan Porter laboured and the overs ticked by.
Tom was also tiring in the heat.
But Dan suddenly found a gear and ended up with an invaluable 36.
Faisal came in and smashed 10 in quick order while Tom carried his bat to end 78 not out.
Cincers closed on 169 for 5 off 35.
Not a bad total to defend but we were may be one seamer light on the day.
We started well, though, and began to push the rate up.
But the crux was always going to come when the spinners came on.
So it was.
The Skip and Richard got a bit of grief though if catches had been held, the grief would have been Saints'.
But it wasn't and all of a sudden, they were up with the rate.
Crucially, Chris P returning at one end got a wicket when Ben snaffled a chance in the deep (Ben, Cincers' career advice - drop one off a seamer rather than one off the Skip!).
Simon M also took a simply stunning catch at shortish mid-off (off James's bowling) to bring another new batter in.
And so to the final over.
Sensing it might well be curtains, the Skip volunteered to take the flack. So did Dee.
But no, Hadlow insisted.
He only went for four!
Cincers the winners by one run.
Pass the smelling salts.

Tide goes out on under-strength Cincers as Whitstable run out easy winners at the seaside

Excuses in first.
After fielding full-strength sides (and even helping opponents out with players), we ran out of steam in Whitstable.
Annoying that we had to scrape around for players as this is one of the best fixtures in the calendar.
There's always a warm welcome from friendly opponents who always roll out the red carpet (er, that means a very good tea among other things).
Right, moan - and excuses - over.
Whitstable Labour Club racked up 212 for 7 off 38 (time game).
One of our recruits for the day - Andy Bau - got a three-for while another Andrew (surname of Boughton) did a sterling stint of 10 overs (1 for 60).
Rockie was a welcome return to the fold and turned in a neat performance with his in-swingers while Tim R bowled a tight spell of 0 for 34 off 9.
But chasing a total like that was always going to be tough.
Labour Club have some canny bowlers
When Tim went for just 16, it felt like it was not going to be our day.
Dee scored fluently (as ever) for 34 but when he too departed, it was skittles time.
In vain, the Skip, batting at eight, tried to reprise his heroics of yesterday (seven in 90 minutes to save a game on a long-ago Devon tour).
But he ran out of partners.
We finished at 71 all out.
Actually, we finished in the Labour Club where the beer flowed.
Ah well, there's always next year.

Ring bells! Uncork the champers! Slicc finally fall to Cincers after Ali thinks he's in the IPL

This was a result to savour - all the more so, because a few overs out, we were still losing.
At last, a victory over Slicc.
The team that, in our brief series of encounters so far, always seem to better us.
The side that last year had us 2 for six (and the two were leg byes).
So when the Skip, umpiring, signalled the wide that gave us the win, it was a sweet moment.
The heroes? Quite a few of them, actually.
We started in the field with Big Dan making his debut and frightening the wits out of the oppo with his Harmison-like bounce and pace.
Shahbaz, newly restored to Cincers, had his hands full keeping.
We bowled very well at times with Dan restricting them to 18 off seven (1 wicket) and Ali swing-bowling like it was on the end of a string (2 for 33 off 8).
New signing Faisal also bowled as did Majid (2 for 31 off six) but the rest of us let the side down a bit.
Now, this being a Slicc game, there was more than a smidgen of edge to the proceedings - especially over the odd umpiring decision!
But Slicc finished on a formidable 246 for 4 off their allotted 40 with their captain notching 115 not out.
To blunt their renowned in-swing bowler Dan, Cincers opened with the Skip and a bid to blunt the swerve.
It half-worked.
The Skip was skittled in the third over but Abid clung on (controversially, thought Slicc) before departing for seven.
Sadly, although he wasn't aware at the time, Tim M broke a finger (badly, as it happens) when he came to the crease before he was bowled (for 14) by a superb out-swinger from Slicc skip Will.
Despite new signing Tariq scoring 31 and Shahbaz 44, we were falling slowly behind the rate.
At 156 for eight and needing eight or so an over, surely it was all over.
Enter Ali and Faisal.
The two sharpshooters simply blasted their way out of trouble.
At first, Slicc probably thought it was just a futile flurry before the inevitable.
I know we did.
But the deadly duo just kept swinging - making fours out of good balls and the odd six out of bad ones.
When Faisal eventually fell for 36 and with 20-odd still needed with just one wicket to go, Slicc must have thought it was in the bag.
But Ali promptly smashed 12 in three balls.
Big Dan had to face with only an handful needed.
Was he fazed? Was he hell as like.
His long reach hit a single and then a couple.
One needed for victory.
And so to that final umpire's decision.
A wide to savour in the long cold winter's nights to come!
Extra of the season - it's in the bag.
News update: Abid wasn't very late. For once.

Masterclass by the Chairman can't save Cincers as short-staffed BK run out the winners

There'll be a time when we'll see the funny side.
Desperate for players, BK issued an impassioned plea for help - and we gave them Shahbaz and Ali.
And what do they do?
Only smash 93 between them to help BK to an improbable 243 for 5 off only 35.
As I say, we'll see the funny side of this one day. But not yet.
In reply, what we got was a masterly innings from Tim R.
'Pace' George, but this is probably destined to be the innings of the season.
Chanceless but up with the pace required.
A sort of Ian Bell-meets-Jonathan Trott performance - gritty, stubborn but fluent.
No-one else for Cincers even hit double figures until Majid late in the day scored 21.
We ended up 20-odd runs short because no-one else could support the Chairman.
George, opening with Tim, went early again.
Dee seemed to have a dinner date as he absently-mindedly swished across the line and was LB.
Tom? Tom was run out.
He wasn't happy but this report is happy to let him tell you why.
As for our performance in the field, it was so/so.
Better than against Colfes (could it have been worse?)but not great.
It was our first time at Charlton Park and the vagaries of a short boundary on one side took some getting used to.
Naveed was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 38 off seven though Chris P was economical at 0 for 20 off six.
The rest of us did our duty. And got thumped.
Oh and Abid was late again.
But that's hardly news.

From the sublime to the ridiculous - or how Cincers fell to earth (as did all the catches)

It was the morning after the night before.
Cincers rolled up to new opponents Colfes flushed with the confidence from our extraordinary victory against Camel.
Chests out, heads high, we took the field on a day which began wet but blossomed into a lovely afternoon.
And we dropped virtually every catch going.
Not three or four. Probably nearer 20 as, God-like, we handed out life after life to a Colfeian batter.
Given we'd hit over 280 off 35, we weren't over-punished.
Old Colfeians took us for 182 for six off 35.
But in truth, they shouldn't have been anywhere near there.
Abid - who rolled up a customary 45 minutes or so late - was the top wicket-taker, th fanks to two stunning long-on catches by Chris P.
But everyone else didn't see a red ball coming towards them - they saw what looked like a plump pod of peas and promptly shelled it.
A curate's egg of a reply came from Cincers.
Tim R top-scored on 61 but there were simply not enough partnerships.
George, our hero from the week before, flourished with a four and then got an absolute grubber with his name engraved on it as it took off stump.
Running between the wickets was not our strength.
Five run-outs (surely a record for a Cincers' innings) testified to that.
A word, though, for our debutant - Harry.
He showed his potential with a fine 38 before he out.
Simon M also chipped with 24.
We ended up 24 runs shy on 158 all out.
Not a performance to savour.
But thanks to our new opponents Old Colfeians for their fine hospitality!